Monday, April 10, 2006

NASCAR Islamophobic Psychosis - The script ain't working out

Isn't it wonderful? The good folks at NBC decided to actually make news instead of merely reporting it.

"Dateline NBC" tried to set up a deliberate sting by sending what they called `Muslim-looking men' to a NASCAR race in Virginia, along with a camera crew to film fans' reactions. Supposedly, the point was to air a possible segment on anti-Muslim sentiment in the United and on TV!

They unfortunately didn't get the knuckledraggers in RedStatesville to perform as expected.

NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston put it well...

"It is outrageous that a news organization of NBC's stature would stoop to the level of going out to create news instead of reporting news.

"Any legitimate journalist in America should be embarrassed by this stunt. The obvious intent by NBC was to evoke reaction, and we are confident our fans won't take the bait," he said.


This gives rise to an interesting reflection, however.The people involved at NBC, of course, are merely clowns seeking ratings. But it was their expectation of finding anti-Muslim sentiment right out in the open that's interesting.

Racism and bigotry are not extinct in America, or anywhere else for that matter, but one normally doesn't see overt manifestations in public in the USA in the 21st century, unless the participants are wearing a hood or situated on a college campus railing at `Zionists' or White males. So why were the good folks at Dateline NBC so certain that they would find such behavior that they were willing to go to a considerable amount of expense and trouble to take a chance at exacerbating it and publicizing it?

I think I have a lil' glimmer of what was behind NBC's mindset, albeit subconsciously. It was an attempt to resolve two wildly divergent `scripts'.

Over the past four and a half years, two currents have been running neck and neck in America's psyche when it comes to the media's take on Islam: the constant drumbeat, continuously echoed in the Main Stream Media that Islam is a Religion of Peace and the equally well reported and awful reality that based on the violence peformed expressly in its name, it isn't anything of the kind.

In other words, there's more than a bit of cognitive dissonance at work here in the media. As more than one journalist has explained, the norm is that these people come up with `scripts', a certain slant for a given story, and simply toss out or spin anything that doesn't enhance the `script'. In this case, there are two wildly conflicting `scripts' that simply don't jibe, and it's impossible to ignore either of them.

If NBC sent a crew out expecting to have live n'nasty coverage of the NASCAR crowd openly expressing hatred of`Muslim-looking men' it's because the media themselves, deep down, realize that the politically correct drivel they've been attempting to push since 9/11 is exactly that. And they expected the NASCAR crowd to react openly to the reality of the violence, terrorism and intolerance fomented in the world by a significant portion of Muslims rather than the `Religion of Peace' stuff.

At the same time, the other script, the politically correct one about how the poor adherants of the Religion of Peace get crapped on reared its ugly head..and the dissonance between the two scripts is what really makes this interesting. Almost like it was the Mother of all script battles.

Of course, the NASCAR crowd was probably busy doing what NASCAR fans do..watching the race. But even if the NASCAR crowd had reacted, might it have just been because of a healthy fear of Islamic terrorism? Especially if one of those `Muslim-looking males' was acting suspiciously or had on a bulky coat?

Results are the guru of the physical world. They will never lie to you.

Eventually, one of these `scripts' is going to have to be abandoned.


Dan Zaremba said...

It is us not the enemy who's BAD!!
Is there some kind of hidden agenda in those fine news rooms?
(It's not that there's anything wrong with it)

Freedom Fighter said...

It's not really a rational, conscious thing, Link.

There's a guy named Rush Limbaugh who's a famous chat show host and author here in the States who's opined that `liberalism is an acid that distorts and ruins everything it touches.'

It SEEMS a bit over the top, but the longer I ponder it the more it makes sense.

I've known a number of journos here and they have all pretty much confirmed that their editors sort of mandate the take on things..the source of the usual media jackal feeding frenzy.

This story fascinated me because of the conflict between the two scripts, one intentional `Muslims good, peaceful, knuckle dragging White people bad' and the reality of what a good many Muslims are up to that the media reports on and people can see with their own eyes.

Chag Sameach, mate!

Anonymous said...

Another component is the journalists' elitist preconceptions regarding NASCAR fans. Inbred, gap-toothed beer drinkers who wouldn't appreciate an upscale la-de-dah Formula 1 (i.e. European) race. There's some truth to this; my son says NASCAR races are like Grateful Dead concerts with beer taking the place of LSD, but in any case the people involved are more complex and sophisticated than their "betters" presume.

Freedom Fighter said...

Ah, very true,Triticale. You see to be a journalist and `script' is to simplify things so that you can get in your 30 second soundbites.

Of course, print journalits have it even easier..they just rewrite AP, the WAPO and the NYT!

Just the same, I find the conflict between the two `scripts', one intentional and one unintentional to be very illuminating.

Thanks for dropping by...see you again soon.

Richard Landes said...

i think you're absolutely right. this story is an effort by the PCP media to resolve cognitive dissonance that they have at once created (with their RoP) and seek to exploit (assuming people aren't stupid enuf to believe them). so they can trick the rednecks (for whom we have infinite contempt -- probably closet fundamentalists) into behaving in ways which, if only people listened to them, we would never engage in. and when they do, we can say, we told you not to tell them that islam was scarey.

what they need to do is go get cameras at Saudi camel races so we can see what kind of a sports culture appears in places where wahabbism is strong...